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Anna Maria Barry-Jester May 23, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Nicaragua.

Chichigalpa, Nicaragua 2009

Anna Maria Barry-Jester (b. 1981, USA) is a documentary photographer focusing on the social and political determinants of health. She holds a BA from New York University in Latin American Studies and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University. She is also an editor with Burn magazine and has written for Utne, Connections magazine and taught photography courses for high school students at the Museum of Modern Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Noorderlicht Festival and she was an invited participant at LOOK Between in 2010.

About the Photograph:

“This picture was taken in a farming community near Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. At night, in the glow of the Toval family’s single light bulb and nine inch television, the kids are whisked away by telenovelas. Over the last few years, I have spent time photographing this family and community, locally nicknamed “La Isla de las Viudas,” The Island of Widows. An epidemic of kidney failure has killed thousands over the last decade, people as young as 23. The Toval children’s father died a few years ago of kidney failure, after 20 years working in the fields, and before reaching the age of 40. The community blames pesticides and working conditions in the nearby sugar cane fields, and the company says it’s genetics, environmental conditions, and alcoholism. But the certain reality is that almost every family in La Isla has lost someone in this epidemic. I plan to continue following this community, and documenting the lives of the children that are the next generation of cane cutters.”